Friday Running Randomz

OK so a couple of “running randomz” since it’s 80* in March (which in itself is random enough!)…

Last weekend I almost stepped on a dead raccoon on the side of the road during my 18-miler. Massive running FAIL. But it got me to thinking about all those barefoot running people (sorry but I think you guys are CRAZY). What on Earth would make someone want to run in their bare feet?!? I mean there are DEAD RACCOONS out there just waiting to be stepped on. Barefoot? Gross.

Which leads me into this: the lady at the running store I mentioned in my previous blog tried to sell me socks with toes. Who wears socks with toes? What happened to the standard sock-fare? When did we decide to become neanderthals when running? Shoes were invented for a reason! And I can’t help but wonder if all this toey-barefootedness has positively impacted the quantity of customers at the nail salon trying to get pedicures for the massive callus’s on their crazy shoeless feet. (Note to self: open nail salon!)

I haven’t talked much (OK really not at all) about my marathon training, so here’s a snippet into how I manage to do it with 3 kids. I train: A) in the mornings while they are sleeping, B) during naps on my treadmill, C) at the gym in the evenings when we don’t have soccer, dance, swim,…, D) I sneak out as soon as my husband gets home from work, or E) when my mom is crazy enough to offer up an hour of her sweet freedom. I’ve only done option D once, while A and B are most popular around here. On the weekends my husband is cool about me dipping out for a few hours while they’re napping to get in a long run and since the weather’s gotten warmer I’ve been trying to get up a little early so I can do the distance run and get home to enjoy brunch and my weekend in it’s entirety with the family.

Finding time to run is hard enough with a young family that demands a lot of your time, energy and effort. Finding time to prepare for a marathon is almost impossible. There were times I doubted I could do it and came thisclose to switching to the half. Then I started hitting 17, 18 mile runs and thought, “maybe this IS something I really can do!” But it does take an all-in effort. I’m really lucky my husband is cool about my weekend training. (I think) He sees that I do everything I can to train around the kids sleep schedules so the impact it has on him babysitting so I can be out prancing the streets for a silly marathon is minimized as much as humanly possible. And I’m lucky to have my mom just across town who will randomly offer to take them so I can get off the dreadmill and enjoy the sweet freedom road running provides. If it weren’t for them I’d be dead in the water.

The past two weeks I’ve run 40+ total miles each. This week I backed off due to the hip & knee pain (mentioned in previous blog) but now that I’ve got my new sneaks I’ll probably get in 35 this week. Oh and my new shoes are the Brooks “Ghost”.

Old sneaks on left, new sneaks on right, Elmo slipper in the background. Sounds about right 🙂

So anyway, that’s a small snapshot into my running and marathon life. Maybe I’ll try to make “running randomz” a more regular blog occurrence because (since I’m training alone) there are all these things I think about and would like to ask / share.

Do you run shoeless? Or even wear socks with toes? I’d love to hear your thoughts either way! Perhaps you can sway me into giving it a go…

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A Change Would Do You Good

If you know me, you know I am very much a creature of habit.  I deeply enjoy many, many things but each and every time I enjoy them I do so the exact same way.  It’s just an idiosyncrasy of mine.  One of many 🙂

My “professional job” which I went to college for is deeply rooted in the idea of change.  Teaching others to accept new methods, technology, ideas.  Coming from a control freak like me, that’s kind of laughable.  But in a business setting I actually find accepting and being a catalyst for change quite refreshing.  In real life, however, sudden and abrupt change causes the Lindsay row boat to capsize. Many, many years ago I once cried because I went to Eat ‘n Park specifically for clam chowder on a Friday and they were sold out.  My plan was thwarted and I couldn’t control it. Tears ensued.  I really was that extreme.

Having kids certainly has forced me to give up control in many ways.  I can’t follow the exact same routine anymore when I leave the house to go anywhere because each and every time is like an exercise in herding cats.  Getting in the car and Emily having on 2 matching shoes with clothes properly on is triumph enough.  All routine and rules have flown out the door when it comes to the kids.

But with me I find that the small things I can control I still very much do.  I realized today I’ve been running for eleven years, and for about eight of them I’ve been wearing the exact same style running shoe.  Don’t get me wrong – my shoe is fantastic and was even coincidentally voted this past winter by Runners World as the top  all-around running shoe.  I ran through 3 pregnancies in that model of shoe.  I ran from Pittsburgh to Southern California and back (not literally) with those shoes.  I ran a half marathon in that shoe.  And I had full-on intended to run a full marathon this May in them as well.

Then something happened.  As my distances crept up, pain started to come with it.  Sore hips.  Aching knees.  My body began to feel twice it’s age.  I’d been cross-training.  I’d slowly increased my  mileage.  People started to tell me that perhaps I simply wasn’t made to go such far distances.  If you don’t know me by now you must realize that telling me I’m not made to do something only makes me even more determined to accomplish it, hence my sticking with sports against all odds when I was a severe asthmatic as a kid.  Nobody puts Lindsay in a corner.

So today I went to a local running specialty store.  I took my trusty shoes with me.  I explained my dilemma to the associate.  And you know what she told me – the problem wasn’t my shoes per se, it was ME.  “Me?!!?”  I was stunned.  She reminded me that aches and pains are going to come with high mileage runs.  She implored me to continue cross-training.  And to pay attention to the wear on my shoes – mine were worn out and needed replacing even though they were only 3 months old!  Then she studied my gait and recommended a different shoe.  She said my old, trusty shoe model would be fine if it’s what I wanted but that I didn’t need the support that shoe offers so why not see if one of the other styles would be more comfortable to take me 26.2.

A different shoe.  A different shoe?  Was she nuts?!?  But of course I love shoes and had to try on a few for the fun of it.  And I decided.  Reluctantly.  Surprisingly.  It was time for a change.

I know in life things just aren’t predictable.  You can’t control the choices those around you make and you can’t change most of the things that come at you from day to day.  But you can control your choices.  Your actions and reactions.  And by doing so you are blazing your path, walking to your own beat, and being your own person.  Change is OK.  I know I can’t control everything and it’s absolutely insane for me to think or pretend that I can.  Like somehow a certain shoe is going to guarantee I can make it the entire marathon?  No.  Training, preparation, diet, etc., is what will ensure I make it on race day.  Only I determine my success or failure.

Will I go to Heaven someday?  God willing, I pray.  I so badly want to.  Is it a guarantee?  No.  Much like a marathon the preparation today determines my final outcome at the end of this race.  I know I will have good miles and bad ones.  Hard ones and easy ones.  But each step is taken out of love for my Savior. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to take each step regardless of it’s difficulty.  And that, friends, feels really good, even in the hardest of miles.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34.  Get yourself through this day, this moment, this mile, this step with pride, strength, integrity and love.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Don’t be afraid to take a chance, change your pace, put your trust in Jesus and change your life.  What awaits beyond the finish line is far better than any trophy.

Run by faith,

Lindsay

Losing My Religion

Maybe you’ve already seen this video. Maybe you think the guy is crazy or don’t understand what he means when he says that he loves God but hates religion. Maybe you’ve read my other blogs and have been giving church some additional consideration. If so please read on.

It’s no secret I love working out. I really enjoy running and lifting weights and if I could I would do it all day every day and I’d never get tired of it. So you can imagine my disdain when December rolls around and I begin preparing myself for all the New Year’s Resolutioners who will hop on the weight-loss bandwagon and start clogging up the equipment that was once readily available whenever I wanted it. January hits, the gym goes bananas. I try to keep my head down, do what I need to do and get out of there as fast as humanly possible. I see it every year and know by March the crowd will be gone. Most will revert to their old ways and when they feel bad about slacking they may pop in for an occasional workout or two then disappear again.

Why do so many people fail with their weight-loss / exercise resolution? Because being fit is a lifestyle – not a resolution. It’s a way of life, day in and day out. It’s something you think about at every meal and it’s something you want to do daily (maybe not as much as I do, but to some extent).

The same concept goes with Christianity.

Being a Christian isn’t something you become to feel good about yourself. Going to Church isn’t something you do every once in a while when you feel guilty because you haven’t been in a while and feel you need to put in an appearance. Being a Christian is a lifestyle. Day in and day out. Praising Him in good times and in bad. Studying the Bible in your free time. Praying with your friends and family or even alone on a continual basis. And admitting to God and those around you that you are a hopeless sinner but are dedicating your life to trying to improve and live more like Jesus, even though you know you will always fall short. You want to glorify God with everything you do. You want to go to Heaven and be with Him for eternity.

I met my husband around the same time I finished reading the Gospel. He encouraged me to attend church with him – I went one time and was turned off by the crowd – his church had thousands of members! At the end of the day I am a small town girl who was used to smaller, more traditional church services. I talked him into coming with me to my denominational church. He agreed and quietly sat by my side for several weeks. Slowly he started asking me questions about the services, such as what had I learned about the Bible from the service, what did my church believe in and what did I believe needed done in order to go to Heaven.

I couldn’t answer any of his questions. I had been reading the New Testament and realized it was good stuff. His questions made me start to think that if I was taking the time to go to church maybe I should be going to one that was actually enriching what I had been learning during my personal Bible studies. Call me crazy, but maybe I should actually know what my church believes in.

Up until that point in my life I had been going to church so that I could feel better about myself. It made me feel like a responsible adult. But I didn’t know God. I left those services no better, smarter or more spiritually capable or enlightened than I had arrived. I never felt my heart yearn to surround myself with Christian friends or to go to church to “refill my spiritual cup” each week. If I missed church, so be it. Maybe next week! I had no idea how far off track I was at living a life that was giving glory to God.

Acts 20:29-30 says, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.”

The wolves are the devil and sinners and they want to pull you away from Christ. Look at how Tim Tebow has been savaged by non-Christians and the media just for being open and honest about his faith. For some reason non-Christians love to attack and put us down. I believe this does scare people away from Christianity – we don’t want to be seen as the “Jesus freaks.” And, unfortunately, the “men who have arisen and are distorting the truth” are running many of our denominational churches today. Not all, but many. They’re preaching their feel-good version of the Bible instead of what it actually contains. They’re letting their congregation believe their lives are saved simply because they show up on Sunday.

Maybe you have a church you already belong to. Search your heart and honestly answer if you firmly know what it is your church believes in (without looking on their website!). Search your heart and answer honestly if you go to church to glorify yourself or if you’re going to glorify your Savior. Answer honestly – is your church encouraging you to become a Christian and teaching Biblical doctrine or pushing “feel good” religious ideas? If your church isn’t meeting your needs let the Bible be your guide and seek a new home for Sunday mornings.

If you have read George Orwell’s 1984, which was written in 1949, and regard Orwell as a “genius,” “visionary” or a “man before his time,” you will truly believe in the power, strength and knowledge of our Almighty God when you read His book that is over two thousand years old yet is still relevant today!

Resolve to make Christ your lifestyle. Attend church because you know you are broken and can’t fix yourself alone. To me Church is like a rehab for sinners. Missing a meeting is just not an option.

Realize that the Bible is the only official word of God, no man or woman should give their own interpretation of the passages that make them uncomfortable. That again is where many of today’s church’s are failing us.

Jesus is greater, more powerful and will give you more love, joy and satisfaction than any religion.

Run by Faith,

Lindsay

Come Sail Away

Ten years ago (WOW that makes me feel old!) I took a spring break trip with my boyfriend to Cancun, Mexico. It was our first trip out of the country and we were pretty excited. Upon arrival to Cancun I remember being pleasantly surprised at how “Americanized” the resort area was and relieved because, regardless of my high school Spanish teacher’s efforts (and her magical bowl), I can speak pretty much zero Spanish. It was almost as if we had flown somewhere more tropical and warm in the United States (but couldn’t drink the water) rather than being in another country.

At some point in our trip we decided to take a cruise in which you climb aboard a teeny boat (think a ramshackle version of Gilligan’s Island) and they hand out cups of beer and play pop music on a dinky boom box while they sail you a few miles to Isla Mujeras. A few hundred yards from the island they drop their anchor and you snorkel in to shore and see the beautiful coral reef. This part of the trip was really a beautiful and fun experience.

I remember we hadn’t taken much money because snorkeling made it inconvenient to carry anything we didn’t want to get wet or potentially ruined, and I remember them telling us as we jumped in the water to snorkel to return to the boat dock area at a certain time and we’d head back to the mainland together.

Isla Mujeras was a beautiful little place but it definitely felt like another country. Not many of the locals on the island spoke English and the “housing” on the island was pretty much little huts and windowless run-down buildings. It was really hard to imagine people actually living in those conditions, in that kind of poverty. We rented a golf cart and drove around for hours marveling at both the poverty on the island and the breathtaking views of the ocean.

If you know me at all, you know that I absolutely HATE being late and/or unprepared. Which has kind of flown out the window since becoming a parent since kids always throw in the wild-card factor when trying to get out the door, but I digress. So when it seemed to be getting close to time to sail back to Cancun we headed to the boat area. We waited… and we waited. None of the boats on the dock looked like our boat. We recognized no one. I started to feel a sense of panic and tried to talk to a local who was working in the dock area but he spoke very broken English. Finally we were able to deduce from him that we had been off by an hour and our boat had left us behind.

I can still remember the fear I felt at that time, not knowing where or how I was going to get to the place I felt I was supposed to be – at my hotel, enjoying a frozen beverage, looking for Iguanas – but rather on this dilapidated island where I couldn’t speak the language and had little to no money on us to get off the island… and I was only 20 years old. It helped (somewhat) that I was with my boyfriend. Misery does love company, right? So we set out trying to find someone who was bilingual enough to understand our situation and help us remedy our mistake and get us back to Cancun.

I think about this experience and it still bothers me. Why hadn’t we listened carefully to the instructions for returning to the mainland? Were we so preoccupied with ourselves and our surroundings that we really couldn’t or didn’t want to be bothered to actually pay attention? Sometimes people are telling us exactly what we need to hear to get where we ultimately want to go and we are too preoccupied – too caught up in the “now” – to pay attention. Then we look back and wonder how things got so screwed up. At some point we have to take responsibility for ourselves, our choices, our lack of prioritizing or paying attention and own our lives and the decisions we’ve made, good and bad. And, in my opinion, that time certainly comes when we leave this Earth and are called to the Almighty for His judgment. At that point we do have to own up to the times we weren’t listening, to the times maybe someone tried to extend a hand to help us learn a little more about Him or to pull us out of a particular sin and we turned them down. We have to tell Him we weren’t listening. That we were too self-absorbed, too caught up in the world around us. That it was too fun, too titillating and we didn’t want to live a life that included moral expectations. When that life of sin on Earth is gone and the rest of our eternity is in His hands will we try to convince Him that we truly did love Him? You can’t fool God – He truly knows what was in our hearts. He knows what is in our hearts. “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” [Matthew 10:30]

I know when I was on that boat I was caught up in having fun. I was 20 and being somewhere exotic and free from it all felt amazing. I assumed I knew all I needed to and took a chance that was supremely and incredibly foolish. Luckily for us, after hours of asking for help and countless tears, we were able to find someone who could understand us and was willing to help us out. We caught the very last boat returning to the mainland that day. And I learned a lesson the hard way.

The good thing about experiences such as mine in Cancun is that I can now reflect upon it and be smarter going forward. But one day there will be no tomorrow and whether or not you make it “off the island” and into Heaven will be based wholly on your past.

I pray that today you find room in your life and your heart to get to know Jesus. If you have a friend who has been inviting you to church, call them and tell them to pick you up on the way next Sunday. If you own a Bible, open it to the book of John and read for half an hour. It can only help you firm up your reservation for a trip to the ultimate resting place once this life is over. Don’t miss the boat.

Run by faith,

Lindsay

Safety Dance

I read this article last night about a jogger who was critically injured by pit bulls… which INSTANTLY reminded me of the pit bull attack I was part of earlier this year, thus inspiring me to write a quick blog about running (and life) safety.

About 4 months ago I was dog-sitting for my mom.  She has an ADORABLE little shih tzu, Quincy (or Q-Zilla, as I like to call him these days). Anyway, my girls were so pumped to have Q around the house and adored feeding him, walking him and petting (aka harassing) him each day.  One day the girls and I were out taking him for a walk… picture it: my 4-year old and 2-year old walking by my side in matching outfits, a 6-month old baby in my arms, and the little pup on a leash walking out in front of us.  I noticed a group of people on a front porch across the street from us and thought nothing of it.  Then suddenly I saw it – a HUGE dog – in their front yard with them.  The dog saw us and starting running FULL SPEED at us.  I froze and began screaming repeatedly, “PLEASE STOP YOUR DOG!” They just sat there.  My oldest ran and hid behind a tree.  My middle child stayed fairly close by my side… maybe only 10 feet away from me but was definitely in a danger-zone.  And let’s not forget I’ve got a dog on a leash and a baby in my arms.  Luckily (?) the pit bull went for Q.  I hate to say it, and even just typing it is making me tear up a bit, but I’d rather he go for the dog than my girls, even though we all love Q so much and it would be awful to lose him or see him hurt.  Right there, in front of me and my little girls’ eyes, was a full on pit bull attack on their doggy BFF and I was powerless to stop it.  I started spinning in circles, dragging Q by the leash to keep him out of the pit bulls reach.  I’m still screaming, “SOMEBODY PLEASE – PLEASE STOP YOUR DOG! PLEASE HELP US!”  The people were still just sitting there on their porch, lazily calling for their dog like he’d suddenly snap out of maul mode and happily trot back to them.  Meanwhile I am attempting to keep 3 children plus myself and a small dog from being killed.  After about 30 seconds (which felt like forever), the dogs owner decided to get up from her seat, walk over and grab their dog by it’s collar.  She tried to assure me that their dog wouldn’t harm us or Q, and when I attempted to test that theory her dog snapped at Q again.  I was shaking worse than I ever have in my life.  I started screaming, “What is WRONG with YOU?!? I’ve got little kids here and a BABY and you just SAT THERE?!?”  She said nothing.  I wanted to verbally tear into her – but what good would that do?  I knew I had to set the example of how to treat others, even when they are BEYOND disrespectful, and be a Christian in front of my girls.  She tried to defend that their dog had never done anything like that before.  I reminded her that there are laws in our town about having either a leash or a fence for your dog.  I took everyone home.  Q-Zilla was petrified.  I was beside myself.  I called animal control.  We were all pretty shaken… and my girls talked about that dog for WEEKS and even now at random times will bring him up.  By the grace of God we were all OK.

After that I started carrying mase.  The incident made me realize that when I’m out doing even normal daily activities, like getting groceries or taking the kids to the park, I’m truly responsible for everyone’s safety and simply can’t be defenseless.  It’s irresponsible.  Life can change in an instant and I don’t want to live the rest of my life having regrets over “couldda, wouldda, shouldda’s” when it comes to my family’s safety.  Additionally, now when I go for an outdoor run I  have AT LEAST the mase on my person.  Because you never know.  And the response, “my dog has never done anything like this before!” is a ridiculous excuse for not having your pet on a leash or in a fenced in area.  Every animal does have  a natural wild side and you never know what can set them off.  Being responsible is just showing respect for your neighbor and fellow man.

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” [Galatians 5:14]

So when you’re out – be it with your children or on a run or doing whatever, please do it with safety in mind.  You are your (and your children’s) first line of defense.  And in some cases, you may be your only line of defense.

 

Run safely and by faith,

Lindsay

This Will Be My Year

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the concept of a marathon. How some miles are easy, some are torture, some you run with friends or family and some you are just fighting mad chafe. The same goes with life – some years are prosperous and some are filled with struggle, strife and irritation. The nice thing about New Years eve is that it provides us a place in which we can “draw a line in the sand”… We can say, “Well, this year was really tough (insert reason here), but in the new year I’m gonna make some changes and it’s gonna be awesome!” A new year, for many, provides a new hope. A new chance. A new beginning. Just like in a race – perhaps this miles’s been a steep uphill fight but the next is a nice down hill to glide over. Both in races and in life we can’t really control whether the next obstacle is easy or hard. Our fate is predetermined by someone greater than ourselves.

In looking back on 2011 I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot, I’ve faced a lot of steep hills, I’ve taken chances after careful prayer and consideration, and thus far I’m more than OK with the results. Despite the steepest climbs life doesn’t get much better. And I believe it’s simply because I’ve surrendered my life completely to God.

1 Cor 9: 25-27 says, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

That being said, here’s to you having a strong finish to 2011 and may 2012 bring you lots of joy, prosperity, and a nice downhill mile. Run each step, live each day, with purpose and strength knowing the Lord is by your side.

Run by faith,
Lindsay

‘Tis the Season: My favorite Christmas crafts

My kids and I did a ton of crafting and baking this holiday season and I thought I should share some of our favorites with you…

These are ritz cracker PB sandwiches dipped in chocolate.  Awesomeness AND festive – double bonus!

We made rainbow cupcakes for the girls’ birthday 🙂  These have turned into a family favorite!

A glittery Christmas tree popsicle stick ornament.  This picture doesn’t do it justice!  They look WAY cool on the tree.

Glittery snowflake ornament – made from a toilet paper core!  These were super fun and really pretty!

Minty chocolate chip cookies… yummmm….

Glitter hand print ornaments.  Very tough to do with a 10-month old!

Christmas-tree shaped rice crispie treats

My 5-year old surprised me and made me a Bible… Which I will treasure forever ❤

Gingerbread play-doh… we found that after a week the play-doh would get a little “wet” so I had to throw it in a pan and heat it up and add some additional flour and salt!  Problem solved!

Mini-cupcakes with strawberries decorated like Santa hats… these were YUMMY!

My girls did this one with very little assistance from me and my mom… our family recipe for sugar cookies with my home-made icing.  Treats made with love are even more delicious!

We did a few others but these were my favorites!  If you would like to do any of these crafts or recipes and/or have any questions, comment and I’ll be sure to respond!

Merry Christmas and have a safe, happy and blessed New Year!

Jingle Bell Rock

Holidays are mixed emotions for many. Some of us are super-excited to spend the day with family we love yet rarely see and happily travel miles and miles to spend the day together. But many look at holiday visiting as a chore, a time in which we are forced to sit around with people we didn’t choose to have in our lives: aunts, uncles, in-laws, etc, and find ourselves praying for their visit to be over as soon as humanly possible so we can resume activities we deem more important and/or exciting than their company.

I recently found myself in an interesting conversation — in speaking with my husband, I mentioned a certain trait someone possesses that really gets under my skin. My husband, (at times) much wiser than I, lovingly reminded me that just because I don’t share that persons particular shortcoming doesn’t mean I’m not apt to my own sins, mistakes and annoying habits. He reminded me that the only perfection is Jesus and that perhaps I should be more forgiving. I knew he was right.

Matthew 7:3-5 says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

With Christmas quickly approaching many of us will be spending time with friends and family that may not be our particular “cup of tea.” Remember that Jesus is the “reason for the season” – find patience and love in your heart for your company and give thanks for the awesome ways He has made us special and unique. Love one another for our differences, just as Jesus loves us – hopeless and completely undeserving sinners, and appreciate them – if only just for one day.

Run by faith,
Lindsay

How To: Cake Pop

Okay so my adventures into cake popping all started a few months ago when my girls and I discovered them at Starbucks.  I’d never heard of them before and they were yummy and SO adorable!  Then about a month ago I joined Pinterest and lo and behold, cake pops re-emerged in their various “food” queries!

After reviewing several recipes, I blended them into my own and it goes as follows:

You can pretty much get everything you need at WalMart either down the baking aisle and/or in the fancy-schmancy cake decorating aisle, located near scrapbooking and kids crafts.  To make cake pops you need:

  • Almond Bark
  • Lollipop sticks
  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup icing/frosting*
  • 1 baked cake
  • sprinkles or other toppings
  • plastic 3’x5′ bags w/ twist-ties
  1. First you need to prepare your cake.  Whatever flavor, doesn’t matter, you choose.  I made 2 cakes, one funfetti and one chocolate, both Pillsbury (they’re my favorite boxed cakes because they’re so moist).  You can make a cake from scratch as well!  I didn’t have the time or I would have made mine from scratch. Also as you follow the pics below you will see they jump from funfetti to chocolate – I didn’t get a pic of every step with either one so I apologize I had to mix them throughout my instructions to show the steps!
  2. Once your cake has cooled, crumble it into a large bowl.  Then crumble it some more.  Make mincemeat out of it!!! Drop in 4oz cream cheese along with 1/3 cup icing/frosting*  (I have my own recipe for quick homemade frosting I’ll post at the end – it made just enough for both batches of cake pops!).
  3. Mix the frosting and cream cheese with the crumbled cake.  I did this step by hand.  You want to keep mixing and mixing until it’s super moist and sticky so you can form it into balls.  You may need to add more frosting if it doesn’t seem sticky enough.
  4. Roll into 1-inch balls on a baking sheet.  Cover the sheet with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight. 
  5. Melt almond bark as directed on package.  I did mine in the microwave and that worked just fine!  While it’s melting, set out your lollipop sticks, a spoon, a baking sheet lined with wax paper and/or a cake pop stand**, and any sprinkles or decorations you may need.
  6. Dip your lollipop stick in the melted almond bark. Insert into cake ball.
  7. Move stick & cake ball into bowl of melted coating.  When I had a freshly melted bowl of almond bark I could easily roll the cake ball around to coat. When the bowl had been sitting a few minutes I’d spoon the melted almond bark over my cake ball to coat.  Gently tap the stick on the edge of the bowl to allow excess coating to drip off.
  8. Remove from bowl.  Sprinkle or decorate as desired.  Place on wax paper or in cake pop stand until coating firms up. 

**When in WalMart I saw cake-pop stands but didn’t buy one.  Online I saw people using foam flower arrangement blocks that they’d wrap in saran and use for drying the cake pops upright.  The advantage to drying upright is you don’t get that frankenstein flat spot on the top of your pop.

My professional taste-testing self declares the chocolate pop to be superior, however the chocolate almond bark and cake was considerably more difficult to work with.  It could have been that my cake wasn’t as moist as it was in the fridge half a day longer than the funfetti.  But the chocolate coating on a few pops cracked and I had zero coating issues with vanilla.

I thought using funfetti would make my cake pop have cool sprinkles throughout it’s inside, but honestly I don’t even notice them.  It all costs the same from the box but I didn’t get the cool funfetti-cake effect I was hoping for.

Also I had read about and experienced a phenomenon in which some pops “leak” a clear liquid.  I don’t know if it’s water or oil but if you don’t get a nice thick coating around a pop when it dries a clear liquid will leak out.  Evidently it’s harmless and I’ve stolen the moniker “schweddy balls” to describe it 🙂Once I had all my cake balls coated I refrigerated until the coating set (about half an hour).  Then I placed each in a plastic pouch and re-refrigerated until serving.  I have read online that cake pops are freezable but I’m really not sure how long they stay good  out in the open or just being refrigerated.  I am serving mine day after tomorrow.


*Super Easy Frosting Recipe:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 TBSP milk

Mix it all together.  If it’s too thick add a little more milk.  Too thin a little more powdered sugar.  Mine came out perfect as-is.

Run (and bake) by faith,

Lindsay

What Love Really Means

Luke 15:11-32 says,

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

I look at my newly-turned 5-year old and wonder where the time has gone. I’m proud of who she’s become in 5 short years, yet realize all I can do is show her love unconditionally and pray that she grows up to make good, Christian decisions for herself.  You can raise two people exactly the same (well, obviously there’s some differences due to personalities, etc) – same rules, same morals and family values – and that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to make the same decisions as adults.  We don’t all digest life the same.  Some of us learn through reading.  Some learn through observation.  Some learn through personal experience.  And, unfortunately, some of us never learn.  Obviously the “bad” son in the passage above had to learn through experience.  Maybe the “good” son learned through observation and was able to steer clear of more sinful choices, to which I’m sure made his parents very proud.  The parents knew that the “good” son would continue to be on the right path and would eventually inherit all that they had, which he didn’t seem to realize or appreciate until his father pointed it out (in verse 31).  He was safe and would be taken care of.  The “bad” son… they didn’t know where he was, didn’t know what he was to become and I’m sure they worried about him daily.  When he returned, as a parent I can only imagine how overjoyed they were!  Their son had learned his lesson – yes he took a longer and harder path but he learned it – and was ready to permanently rejoin the family and make their unit whole again. And they welcomed him and praised his decision with open arms.

If you are toying around with the idea of becoming a Christian know that God is already looking for you.  You are the son who is lost.  He is the father trying to find your heart – you have to let Him in.  There is no cookie-cutter way to finding your way to Christ – you can come from a relatively normal Christian upbringing or you can come from a sinful past – He and the Christian family will celebrate your return to Him all the same!  And once you have joined His family, as it says in verse 31, you are always with Him, and everything He has is yours.

Run by faith,

Lindsay

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